With the release of the National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2021 Version 1.0, the standard classification system has been completely overhauled.
The NOC is important for Canadian immigration as it is used by the federal and provincial governments for managing the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), and skilled worker immigration programs.
A temporary foreign worker or immigrant is required to meet the NOC eligibility criteria for the specific program applying under.
Under the federal Express Entry system of Canada, a skilled worker must demonstrate work experience in either NOC 0 (managerial jobs), NOC A (professional jobs), or NOC B (skilled trades occupations).
The NOC is used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and Canada’s provinces and territories to assess eligibility for skilled worker immigration programs.
Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) also uses the NOC-matrix for evaluating Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
ESDC and Statistics Canada work together to come up with updates and revisions to the NOC. Historically, the departments undertook updates every 5 years, followed by structural revisions every 10 years.
The present revision is extensive, the last structural revision was NOC 2011.
As part of continuous improvement, Statistics Canada and ESDC agreed to update the NOC more frequently after the publication of the 2016 version of the NOC.
|As per official sources, NOC 2021 will be implemented in Fall 2022.|
NOC 2021 contains 516 occupations. NOC 2016 has 500 unit groups.
Of the 516 unit groups the overhauled NOC, 423 are exactly the same as in the previous version of the classification.
NOC 2021 – Changes Introduced
The NOC 2021 major revision updates the structural framework. The updated NOC matrix is to be “more consistent, accurate, and flexible”.
 Replacement of skills levels with TEER categories
The first major change is the replacement of skill levels with the new categories of Training, Education, Experience, and Responsibilities (TEER).
The introduction of the TEER system will put the focus on the education and experience needed to be able to work in Canada in a specific occupation.
According to Statistics Canada, the previous NOC classification artificially created a low- against a high-skilled categorization. With the redesign, there will be a shift from the low/high categorization towards more accurately capturing the skills needed in each of the occupations in the Canadian labor market.
Jobs classified based on –
· Job duties, and
· The work an individual does.
|NOC 2021 |
Jobs classified based on –
· Level of skills required,
· Level of training,
· Level of formal education,
· Experience needed to gain entry into that occupation, and
· The responsibilities associated to it.
|Skill Type||Kind of Job||TEER categories||Details|
|Skill Type 0 (zero)||Management jobs||TEER 0||Management occupations|
|Skill Level A||Professional jobs||TEER 1||Completion of a university degree,|
Many years of experience in a specific occupation from TEER 2, if applicable.
|Skill Level B||Technical jobs and skilled trades||TEER 2||Completion of a post-secondary education program of 2/3 years at community college, institute of technology or CÉGEP,|
Completion of an apprenticeship training program of 2 to 5 years,
Occupations with supervisory or significant safety responsibilities,
Several years of experience in a specific occupation from TEER 3, if applicable.
|Skill Level C||Intermediate jobs||TEER 3||Completion of a post-secondary education program of less than 2 years at community college, institute of technology or CÉGEP|
Apprenticeship training of less than 2 years,
More than 6 months of on-the-job training, training courses or specific work experience with some secondary school education,
Several years of experience in a specific occupation from TEER 4, if applicable.
|Skill Level D||Labour jobs||TEER 4||Completion of secondary school,|
Several weeks of on-the-job training with some secondary school education,
Several years of experience in a specific occupation from TEER 5, if applicable.
|–||–||TEER 5||Short work demonstration and no formal educational requirements.|
 Number of categories increased
From the current 4 skill levels, NOC 2021 will have 6 TEER categories.
Most of the occupations listed – around 1/3 of all unit groups in the NOC – come under the existing Skill Level B.
With the change, there is a clearer distinction between the employment requirements for each of the TEER categories. This will lead to a more homogenous and consistent classification.
 New NOC codes to be in a 5-digit format
The third major change is a structural move involving a shift from a 4-tiered NOC code to a 5-tiered classification system.
The new classification is more flexible. Scope has been left in NOC 2021 for the incorporation of many new unit groups, as required in future.
|NOC 2021 – 5-digit NOC Code|
|Digit 1||Broad occupational category|
|Digit 2||TEER category|
|Digits 1 & 2||Represent the major group|
|Digits 1, 2 & 3||Represent the sub-major group|
|Digit 1, 2, 3 & 4||Represent the minor group|
|All 5 digits||Represent the occupation itself|
For example, as per the Concordance table for NOC 2021, the present NOC 2147 for Computer engineers (except software engineers and designers) requiring a Skill Level A will become NOC 21311 with TEER 1.
Moreover, with NOC 2171 (now NOC 21222) for Information systems analysts and consultants split, NOC 21232 is the new code for Software developers and programmers.
 Changes in the occupations themselves
The changes made to the occupations aim at keeping the NOC updated with the evolution of the labor market in Canada.
Many unit groups have had their list of employment requirements, main duties, and list of associated job titles reviewed in detail.
|New unit groups created|
· Data Scientists
|Granted their own unit group|
· Financial advisors
· Police investigators
|3 distinct unit groups created||For software developers and programmers|
|Sectors with significant renewal|
· Information technology sector
· Health and agriculture sector
· Military occupations
· Postal services
The new NOC 2021 contains 516 occupations in total, up from the 423 occupations in NOC 2016.
|How the 516 unit groups from NOC 2021 were built|
|423 unit groups||Exactly the same as in NOC 2016|
|58 unit groups||New unit groups, created through the splitting up of an existing unit group|
|30 unit groups||Existing unit groups that had parts of another unit group added|
|5 unit groups||New unit groups, created through the merging of 2 separate unit groups|
Canada immigration will be overhauling the way occupations in the Canadian labor market are classified in Fall 2022.
The new classification will affect those applying under certain economic immigration programs – such as the federal Express Entry system – as well as temporary foreign workers.
The federal government of Canada is yet to communicate regarding the sorts of applicants to be affected.
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